Week 2- How do I Discover God’s Best?
To know God’s Plan, follow God’s Process!
I’ve found myself so many times in a restart in my walk with Jesus. Walking with Jesus is like being on a diet sometimes. I want to eat right but there’s French fries and ice cream! I’ll begin the process of eating healthy and exercise but then there’s that rainy, cold morning where I didn’t sleep well so I’ll just skip the exercise that day. Can you actually count the number of times you’ve started and been derailed?
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (Romans 12:1-2)
1. Paul encouraged his readers to offer themselves as living sacrifices to God. What does it look like practically to do this? How is doing so an act of worship?
2. Why is it easy to conform to the behavior of the world? In what areas of your life might you be doing so?
3. Did Paul think that people can transform on their own? Why or why not?
4. What are some of the ways God renews our minds? What are some of the obstacles that stand in the way of your daily transformation?
5. How did Paul describe God’s will for us? Does His will always seem good, pleasing, and perfect?
6. What evidence can people see that God has transformed you? Why is it important for Christians to stand out from the rest of the world?
One of the most common excuses for not devoting ourselves to that which would promote spiritual transformation is that we don’t have time. How might your priorities need to change to give God the room to renew your mind?
With everything in the Christian life, the goal of spiritual transformation is that we become people who glorify God and make His name known. How could you use a new truth God has taught you to make His name known?
12:1. Paul urged all believers to present themselves as a “living sacrifice.” Such language must have clashed immediately in the minds of many. The common understanding was that only the first and best animals were fit to be offered as sacrifices. The sacrifice Paul had in mind was radically different. Jesus had given Himself as the once-and-for-all Sacrifice for sin on the cross. Believers thus were to live in light of Jesus’ all-sufficient sacrifice, bringing glory to God. The idea of Christians’ presenting their “bodies” as a living sacrifice harked back to the discussion of the body being dead to sin because of the life-giving presence of the Spirit (see 8:10). To live by the Spirit is to offer oneself completely and daily as a “holy and pleasing sacrifice.”
Paul further explained that living as a holy, pleasing sacrifice was a believer’s “spiritual worship.” The word rendered spiritual also can be understood as meaning logical or reasonable. The Greek word translated worship often was used to refer to carrying out religious duties or services. Thus Paul taught that in light of God’s gracious redemption (by the mercies of God), living as a sacrifice was the logical and pleasing way for Christians to serve God.
12:2. As Christians, we’re also to please God with our minds. The temptation is to go along with the dominant attitudes of the “age,” to adopt the prevailing cultural worldview characterized by self-worship (sin). The apostle urged his readers to reject worldliness and “to be transformed by the renewing of the mind.”
The phrase be transformed in the Greek is a present passive imperative form. This form suggests three important truths. First, the present tense describes a continuing action. Transformation of our thinking and attitudes is an ongoing, lifelong endeavor. Second, the passive voice indicates that the indwelling Spirit is the Source of our transformation. We can’t transform ourselves but rather must be transformed. Third, however, is the truth suggested by the imperative that we must consciously place ourselves at the Spirit’s disposal for transformation to happen. The Spirit will not transform us against our will.
The result of having our minds renewed by the Spirit is to grow in our ability “to discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” The word translated “discern” literally means to prove by testing. Christian living is not about emptying the mind—as some religions claim—but rather about thinking intelligently and logically in accordance with God’s ways. God wants His people to know what pleases Him because by living according to His ways we will experience the most abundant life possible (see John 10:10).